Tanjug – 5/10/13
BELGRADE — The celebrations of the 1,700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan will bring together seven heads of Orthodox Churches.
They include Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem and Russian Patriarch Kirill.
The final event to mark the anniversary will be held on Sunday in Serbia’s southern town of Niš – the birthplace of Rome’s first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić, Prime Minister Ivica Dačić, government officials, president of the Serb Republic (RS) Milorad Dodik, and Montenegrin President Filip Vujanović, will all attend.
Serbian Patriarch Irinej called on Thursday on all believers and people of goodwill to join in the final part of the marking of this great historic event.
Bishop of Bačka Irinej Bulovic has said at a press conference that the celebrations will begin as soon as delegations arrive on Friday.
The central ceremony will take place on Sunday, when a liturgy will be held in front of the newly-built Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Niš. According to Bulović, archbishops of Cyprus and Greece, Metropolitan of Warsaw, a delegation from Bulgaria and representatives from Alexandria will also attend the celebrations.
The delegation of the Roman Catholic Church will be headed by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, and representatives of the Armenian Church will also be present.
Thanks to the Edict of Milan, the Christian faith and Church got the freedom of worshipping, which changed the face of Europe in terms of culture and civilization, Bulović said.
“Thus, the foundations were laid for Christian Europe that now lasts 1,500 years,” Irinej Bulović underlined.